Supplier Change, Low Production Yields Blamed For iPhone 5 Lightning Connector Shortages

Supplier Change, Low Production Yields Blamed For iPhone 5 Lightning Connector Shortages

It’s gonna be a while. Thank goodness patience is a virtue.

In a research note from KGI, a financial analytics group out of China, oft-cited analyst Ming-Chi Kuo places the responsibility for the shortages in new iPhone 5 connectors squarely on the shoulders of a shift in the specific supplier of the connector from Foxconn (Hon Hai) to Foxlink (Cheng Uei), due to lower yield rates of the new unit type from Foxconn.

AppleInsider also reports sources saying that Apple has requested Foxlink pick up the slack and dedicate more workers and production lines to the Lightning cable production line.

Lightning is a totally different component than the previous 30-pin connector, requiring new methods of production, says the report. The previous star in the 30-pin dock connector production line was Foxconn, which took half or more of the orders from Apple when that accessory was on all iOS devices. Now that the iPhone 5 is the first to use the new Lightning connector, they only receive 40 percent of the current orders, as compared to Foxlink’s reported 60 percent.

The end result of the lower production yields is a shortage of supply for the connector cables, with an increasing demand from the first iPhone 5 adopters, which went on sale last Friday. While we all would love more cables to use to charge our iPhone 5s, let’s hope that any new directives from Foxconn and/or Foxlink will not lead to more poor work conditions or rioting. We can wait.

Whether Apple anticipated this shortage or not, it does show the incredible difficulty in switching from the long-used and well entrenched 30-pin adapter to the new, perhaps technically better Lightning connector. Currently, the $19.00 part is showing as having a 2-3 week shipping delay on the Apple Store website.

  • vic

    On the 15th, I ordered the Lightning to USB Cable and the Lightning to 30-pin Adapter. The confirmation emailfor the USB cable said “Available to ship: 2 – 3 Weeks” and “Delivers Oct 10 – Oct 16 by Standard Shipping”. The dock adapter confirmation said “Available to ship: October”.

    I was pleasantly surprised when the USB cable was shipped on 9/21 and received today (9/24).

  • Jason Bennett

    I was in the Austin Domain Apple Store today and they had DOZENS hanging on the wall there. I picked up three. If you need one quick, check your local Apple Store.

  • crateish

    I was in the Austin Domain Apple Store today and they had DOZENS hanging on the wall there. I picked up three. If you need one quick, check your local Apple Store.

    I got two at the King Of Prussia location on Sunday. Tons were hanging from the wall. Best 40 bucks I’ve paid in a while at an Apple Store.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, Creative Screenwriting, Shelf-Awareness, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef, and send him a cookie once in a while; he'll really appreciate it.

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